'My dearest, I'm sorry that I've taken so long to get in touch again. I wish I could have gotten in touch sooner, but I'm afraid that it just hasn't been possible.'
He stopped and sighed a little, closing his eyes. He was certain he could see her slightly, out of the corner of his eye so long as he kept them closed. The small, sparkling flecks of gold took on a face, barely visible, a small grin fluttering over her lips slightly. He was certain she was reading the letter at that moment. He chuckled softly, then turned back to it.
'I've been away for a long time now, I know. And I'm sorry that we've never gotten to meet properly, but it seems like such a waste to throw away the chance to speak, at the very least. I've left a small gift for you in the usual place, in addition to the book sent with the letter. I know you'll love it. She's a delightful author, Ms. Radcliffe, and I just know it'll appeal to your sensibilities.'
He smiled a little, flicking open the front of the book again and making the candle flame flutter slightly. He smiled at the inscription he'd placed there, as well as the signature below it. He turned his attentions back to the letter.
'I wish you nothing but the best, my shining lady, and I hope that you will think kindly on me in spite of everything else you might know. Or think, at the very least. I can assure you I'm nowhere near as bad as they want you to think I am. So please, be well.'
He signed it, then wrote 'To My Shining Light' on the outside before folding the page several times, down to a thin sliver of paper, and sliding it into the spine of the book.
He walked over and placed it on his bookshelf, sliding it into place. The next week, he'd sell the book at auction for a small sum.
It would find her.
Sophia stared down at the inscription, her eyebrows closing in on her hairline. "And this was acquired in the lot with the new object?"
Gears nodded. "It was. We were going to place it in the book repository for resale until we saw the inscription. What do you make of it?"
She looked at it carefully, frowning. "'To my dearest Sophia Light, at Site-19.' It's either a joke or an anomaly."
Gears nodded again. "I agree. Tests seem to indicate nothing extraordinary about the book, but we've not done the deep scans yet. The possibility of damaging the text was high enough that I wanted your input before proceeding."
She opened the book, her thumb fanning the pages for a moment, as the piece of paper slipped out of the spine and into her lap. She frowned, picking it up and opening it. Her eyes slid back and forth over the letter, and when she was finished, she passed the page over the desk toward Gears.
"Gears?" she asked. "Please tell me we know someone else named Dark…"